My New Year's resolution for 2020, as written by me on Dec. 31, 2019 reads: "Be more optimistic. Look on bright side." If ever there was a year to bail on one's personal growth, this would be it, but I tend to be a girl scout about my promises—even ones that end up being patently ridiculous, like trying to develop a positive attitude during an apocalypse. Still, I persist with my own personal Silver Linings Playbook, which currently reads something like: "This COVID-19 pandemic sure has provided me with the opportunity to learn a lot about infectious disease epidemiology."
To that end, much of my week involves keeping track of the various state-provided pandemic particulars and searching out answers to questions prompted by said materials. As I receive fairly steady correspondence from folks also seeking such information, I thought I'd take this week to provide a guide to anyone looking for New Mexico data and other relevant materials. If you're reading the paper version of this column, you'll find all the links in the online version. Find all SFR's stories related to the topic at sfreporter.com/covid19.
The Daily Report
Seven days a week, usually between 3:30 and 4 pm, the state publishes a daily New Mexico COVID-19 report. This missive includes a breakdown of new cases by county; new deaths by county; total number of hospitalizations, total number of cases statewide by county and prison facilities; and a list of residential facilities with at least one case of the disease. SFR publishes this report six days as week (I take Saturdays off to wash my hair and pet the cat). You can also find these on the governor's and health department's websites (nmhealth.org).
The state health department maintains a dashboard, updated daily, through which one can dig down into county-level COVID-19 information. You can find the number of cases, recovered cases, administered tests and deaths. You can search for cases by ZIP code. You can look at the number of cases, tests and hospitalizations historically in tiny little charts. If you hover over those charts, you can also see the corresponding numbers and copy them into your own spreadsheet. There is probably some way to extract that data that is less manual, but I haven't found it yet. The dashboard also shows COVID-19 cases by gender and age, both at the county and state level. Its map view can be configured to show cases by county, ZIP code, tests performed and correctional facilities.
The state's modeling team includes people from the health department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Presbyterian Health Services and Sandia National Lab. I wrote about the modeling effort earlier this year, but in brief: The state uses an SIR model, essentially tracking susceptible, infectious and recovered cases over time. The modeling team meets on Tuesdays and generally the weekly report publishes on the state's modeling micro site by Wednesday (cvmodeling.nmhealth.org). These reports, sadly, come in PDF form (in other words, they are not interactive nor do they show real-time data) but, on the bright side, they include lots of charts! For example: They show weekly COVID-19 prevalence for New Mexico, the weekly effective transmission rate, growth rates by region, hospitalization rates, ventilator use rates and fatality rates. As a general rule, Human Services Secretary David Scrase will review the weekly modeling report at the weekly COVID-19 news conference, although he does not always review all of the charts in the report.
Speaking of that weekly news conference, it tends to occur at 3 pm on Thursdays but sometimes not. SFR always just tries to give advance warning, but following the governor on social media is probably the safest way to stay in the know. The news conferences broadcast on the governor's Facebook page and KRQE's website (and possibly other places; those are where I watch).
Tune in to one of those news conferences and you'll hear about the state's gating criteria. These are a set of objectives set by the state's Medical Advisory Team for when New Mexico can safely move to new stages of re-opening. You'll find the gating criteria as a subpage on the state's modeling microsite. The state's rate of spread and testing capacity updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The state's contact tracing speed and hospital capacity updates on Tuesdays.
The state's Medical Advisory Team also maintains a repository of materials related to the pandemic, which can also be found as a submenu item on the modeling microsite. This is where you can read up on the MAT's guidance related to mask wearing, the use of the medicine remdesivir for hospitalized patients, antibody testing guidelines for healthcare providers and a slew of other scholarship for both clinicians and the public.
Rapid Response Reports
The environment department (env.nm.gov) houses information on the state's rapid response program. When an employee tests positive, a state agency deploys to the business, closes it, tests the employees and ensures COVID-safe protocols are in place. Every Monday, the environment department updates a report showing the rapid response efforts by business sector. The department also provides a daily report on which businesses have had rapid responses.